Mods and rockers

Two video clips that are very different but both contain behind the scenes footage, one with a heavy metal loving soigneur and the other with Bradley Wiggins, a self-styled mod.

First is a video from the soon to vanish HTC-Highroad team and shows the work of a soigneur. “We need 30 hours in a day” is the opening claim from the team’s head soigneur Frits Van Der Heide. The film explains the role of the soigneur, French for “carer”. As you can see the day is long and it goes from supporting the riders to washing the team car. Just as the mechanics wash every bike, the team cars must have the showroom look too. There’s all the usual footage of soigneurs filling up musettes and the slow-mo footage shows text-book examples of how to grab them in the feedzone (arm forward, grab where the straps meet the bag).

I follow Frits Van Der Heide on Twitter and as well as cycling-related messages, it seems he’s into Black Sabbath and a keen Saab driver. He’s joined Saxo Bank for 2012.

The second is a video podcast from Britain featuring Bradley Wiggins, himself into music and custom Lambretta scooters, hallmarks of the mod subculture in Britain. It’s an interesting clip if you have the time because you might only know Wiggins as the-time-triallist-who-lost-weight guy. These labels help but they are obviously simple and superficial, there is of course more to a rider than their speciality or body mass. Usually.

In this case Wiggins talks about his dress sense and music and the “mod” subculture particular to Britain. Although he talks like a Frenchman, using hand gestures with every phrase. He’s been know to travel to races with a guitar – others do the same – and in the video interview he describes how he’d like longer hair but cuts it short to avoid overheating. It’s an interesting glimpse into the life of a rider miles away from cycling and Wiggins clearly has passion for this.

9 thoughts on “Mods and rockers”

  1. I remember that the Dutch journalist Mart Smeets had a briljant series of interviews back in the eighties where he wrote about the “other” sides of the riders. Their musical passions, their book choices and their cultural background. Especially the stories of the german, english speaking and scandinavian riders were fascinating.

    One of the interesting stories i found out in more recent years is Tyler Farrar. I found it fascinating that he lived in the old center of Gent (Flanders). Not a place I would have thought of.

  2. I’m a mod cyclist myself and there are loads more around the UK. There are groups in Twitter that have mod ways and an interest in cycling, it seems that they compliment each other well.
    Not entirely sure why cycling appeals to mods, but the obsession with looking right and wearing the right gear is something that both mods and cyclists share, and of course there is an interest with Italian style with mods, so there is alot to interest a mod with cycling.
    As ever, interesting insight to cycling.

  3. Ah, mods, the left-behind of youth culture, stuck in a past where everything can be solved with the right piece of gear. Exactly like some cyclists then.
    It’s possibly more relevant to suggest that a man abandoned by his father at an early age might find comfort in the certainties of a scene that took place fifteen years before he was born. He might wave his hands about Gallically, but Bradley could hardly be more English. We love nostalgia.
    Keep up the good work INRNG.

    [If it matters I enjoy Northern Soul AND Black Sabbath- they’re not mutually incompatible]

  4. There’s somewhat of a shared history and cultural reference points with cycling and mods. Although a British movement of the early 60’s, the fashion and iconography of the mods (short for modernist) comes from Italy where the post-war generation of young adults identified themselves by wearing sharp, well-fitted suits which were actually well suited (no pun intended) to riding around on scooters – these being a relatively cheap way of getting around in a country that was still recovering from the Second World War.

    East-end teenagers in London identifying with this cool dense of style, and having ready access to Jewish tailors in the area adopted the look and added emerging musical elements such as Soul, R&B, Ska and British Beat.

    Of course, Italy is also one of cycling’s traditional heart-lands and its influence can be seen in companies like Rapha today. It’s also no co-incidence that coffee drinking and cycling are closely linked too.

    It’s all pretty well summed up by the Modfather himself, Paul Weller, in The Style Council video for My Ever Changing Moods:

    Scott (not a full Mod, but freely admit to Mod leanings)

  5. @Scoot O’Raw Wow, never learned so much about Mods in a single post and its closeness to cycling. But, on the other hand. It reeks a little bit of green/socialist-snobism. In Holland, where I come from. Everybody between 30-40, with a good edcuation, a good income and a wordly-view is cyling lately. And all of them are reading cycling-books, set up training camps in the Alps or the Vosges and make cyclingtours from Amsterdam to Rome. As opposed to following footballclubs and going on holiday to the Spanish costas or the Greek islands.

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